From Comic-Con International 2013

Books / Culture

SDCC 2013 Recap from the CBLDF Booth.

Banned Comics Infographic designed by Tim Leong for the CBLDF

(Banned Comics infographic designed by Tim Leong, author of “Super Graphics: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe“)

The San Diego Comic-Con just wrapped Sunday evening and everyone's taking numbers. Over 300k visitors, 10s of milions of dollars spent over 5 days; headcounts of new properties acquired by major distributers, publishing imprints, and licensing companies. That's right, we forget sometimes that Comic-Con International is as much about “industry” deals as it is about the cosplay fantasmagoria and a pop culture fan camp on steroids. In the midst of these dealings there's exactly and only one organization that seeks equitable and fair legal representation and awareness for comic book creators; governed as a non-profit quorum as opposed to private shareholders or partners. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is critical in its fiscal unbias, because it assure the rights they protect aren't just about royalties and copyright intrinsic to all art–rules that inhibit dissemination of creative assets–but about free speech and legal transparency. 

The functional dichotomy of the law as it pertains to publishing–copyright and revenue protection on the one hand, transparency and free speech protection on th eother–has at the heart of it, a deeper binary between the rights of the artist and the rights of the reader. I was lucky enough to sign and exhibit with the CBLDF this Summer, but was shocked at how many cases of first ammendment and copyright abuses persist at the expense of both the reader and artist. Because as interesting it is how much debate takes place in the courtroom over accurately attributing or compensating the original creators of mega media franchises such as Superman and Walking Dead (both with abismal outcomes for the original artists), many works continue simply to be banned from library shelves altogether. Suffice it to say that despite or because of my latent interest in how open source can free content to evolution, I feel much ambivalence over how to reward artists in an altogether mis-compensted medium like comics.